Seeking the youth vote

By: Christy Dimond Email
By: Christy Dimond Email

With less than three weeks before Election Day, local political parties are making a push to get votes from one key demographic: the youth.

A new study from Harvard Institute of Politics shows voters ages 18-29 are more likely to have trust in President Obama, while voters of that age who are in support of Mitt Romney are more likely to vote.

Justin Gollob, assistant professor of Political Science at Colorado Mesa University, said he's noticed a decline in interest among young voters, compared with the 2008 election.

"There's a big difference in this campaign," Gollob said. "The campaign in 2008 was about hope, change and promise. This campaign is about accomplishments, lack there of in some cases, and a record that's being attacked. So it's much more rooted in reality than idealism."

Gollob said idealism tends to appeal to younger voters, which is why youth voters were more engaged during the 2008 election.

CMU Junior Ariel Diamond, vice president of Associated Student Government, said while she feels the importance of voting and civic responsibility, not all of her peers feel the same sentiment.

"The problem I hear is people feeling like they don't want to vote if they're not going to make a change and they're not going to have an impact," Diamond said.

A lack of interest among this age group is a concern for Martha Graf, president of Kids Voting Mesa County, a group that works with the school district to educate kids at an early age about voting.

"It's not a good thing when any one group doesn't become engaged, because their voice is important, and all of our leaders need to hear from as many people as possible," Graf said. "The youth is a huge block and pretty soon they're not going to be young and the longer they wait to be involved, it's just not a good thing."

Nonetheless, Mesa County Democrats and Mesa County Republicans said they're actively working to get young votes before the election.


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